Schroeder’s New Deli, Rome GA

Back in February, our friend David sent along notice of an interesting restaurant in Rome. The local paper did a story about how Schroeder’s New Deli was celebrating its 35th birthday with a month of rollback prices and specials. I had been wanting to go to Rome to visit the Partridge for ages, but would really prefer to make an out-of-town trip to visit at least two restaurants. Well, here was the second. Continue reading “Schroeder’s New Deli, Rome GA”

The Partridge Restaurant, Rome GA

A couple of years ago, the children and I took a Saturday trip to the small city of Rome, and left very impressed with the look of a very old restaurant on Broad Street, the city’s major thoroughfare. John Jacobs opened the Partridge Restaurant in 1933. This very popular place remained in family hands for more than seventy years, and, in mid-2015, the family resumed ownership and brought back many employees who had worked here many years back. When we paid our bill, Marie and I met a nice woman named Gaynelle who has worked here on and off since 1972. Continue reading “The Partridge Restaurant, Rome GA”

Log Cabin Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, Rome GA

There are lots of nice treats to be found in our hobby, but here is one of my favorites: visiting a barbecue shack miles from anywhere that I’ve never heard about previously, and learning that it has been around for almost fifty years. This is the great thing about barbecue in the rural southeast: in the larger city, everybody’s in competition for the same dollars, and large fees are paid to PR companies to get stories placed anywhere for people to read. Five miles east of Rome, however, there’s nothing but the building and the regulars and the food. I love this part of our hobby. Continue reading “Log Cabin Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, Rome GA”

The Shrimp Boat, Rome GA

For those of you keeping track of such things (point of order: it’s only those of us who blog who keep track of such things!), Urbanspoon divides each state into “major metros” and then all the spaces in between become their own category. Georgia has ten “major metros” (Atlanta, Savannah, Athens, etc.) and then everyplace else, from Brunswick to Tallulah to Summerville to Thomasville, is all “Urbanspoon Georgia.” For our 100th Urbanspoon Georgia story, I wanted to select something a little bit special to me, so one Saturday last month while Marie had to work, I packed the kids up and we drove an hour northwest to Rome. It’s here that one of the oldest (possibly the very oldest) of the seven remaining Shrimp Boat restaurants is doing business in its second location. Continue reading “The Shrimp Boat, Rome GA”

Troy’s BarBQ and Ole Tymer BBQ, Rome GA

Two Saturdays ago, Marie and I were enjoying a little tour of northwest Georgia that took us to four barbecue restaurants. The original plan, drafted before our baby was born, had been to continue north up GA-100 to the town of Coosa, see whether anything interesting might have been waiting for us there, and then drive east to Rome before coming home.

Unfortunately, we did have a little time budget to worry about, as we did need to get back and relieve Marie’s mother of babysitting duties. So when we got to the town of Cave Spring, we changed plans and drove to Rome from there. Coosa would have to wait for some other time. My parents and I used to drive through there all the time. They grew up in Fort Payne, Alabama, and we would go back out this way to visit my grandparents every four or five weeks.

Marie doesn’t believe that she’s ever been through Rome. I hadn’t been by in around five years. The town used to be home to a very, very minor league indoor football team called the Renegades, and I was curious enough to come check them out back when I cared a bit more about that sport. I had supper on that trip at a barbecue place whose name I could not remember, but I looked over the listings at Urbanspoon, shrugged, thought that it might have been Troy’s, and got directions. I was incorrect. I’d never been to Troy’s before, although many, many people have in the eighty years the restaurant has been in business.

Troy’s, today, is in a large, open space in a small strip mall that also houses a Ru San’s. It is a characterless, commercial site that the present owners have attempted to spruce up with photographs and signage from the restaurant’s heyday. Apparently first opened in the 1930s, Troy’s was in a large building that was later demolished for a bypass. In the 1950s, they relocated to the place that generations of Romans knew very well. Troy – I’m not sure whether that was his first or his family name – passed away a few years ago, and the new owners bought the rights to it from his heirs. They have mostly kept the classic layout of the restaurant in its fondly-remembered space, with a three-sided counter right in front of things, but the much larger space in this strip mall means that they can accommodate several more tables on either side of it.

The pulled pork here is served in a deep, red tomato-based sauce. I asked, and it is prepared that way in the kitchen; you can’t get the sauce on the side. On any other day (these days), I might have minded a little, but since the sandwiches that I enjoyed at the previous two stops each had such very different takes on meat, I appreciated getting a third style in one afternoon.

Nothing here blew us away, though I did like the slaw and Marie was taken with her butter beans. It’s pretty good stuff, served with a great, positive attitude from a terrific staff, but I think that I would like it better if it was in a different location, and not one that feels like it was built yesterday. Recipes with this much history deserve a better presentation.

I was mentioning above that the last time I came to Rome, I ate at a place whose name I could not remember. By chance, our drive to Troy’s took us right past that place! It’s a drive-through shack called Ole Tymer, and while it doesn’t have Troy’s long history, it’s closing in on thirty years in business.

By this point, Marie and I were completely full, but I pulled into Ole Tymer anyway and got a bag of food to take home and reheat. I remember enjoying the meal that I had here five years back, and the chopped pork and stew didn’t disappoint. Then, I sat at one of their concrete picnic tables and read several chapters of Marvel’s Essential Luke Cage and just enjoyed the heck out of my nice late afternoon. But on this Saturday, I took my food home and had them with our odds-n-sods supper of leftovers and freezer pizza. I daresay I had the best meal. The chopped pork was smokey but also moist, and the stew was very good.

Ole Tymer kind of needs to invest in a new sign. It looks like there’s been a change in ownership, or at least half-ownership, sometime in the last few years, but the name of the second owner is still somewhat visible on the sign, his name faded but present. Every restaurant has a story; it looks to passers-by that the story of this one is tinged with sadness.

That wrapped up our first northwest Georgia tour. There are still several places along and nearby the I-75 corridor that we can try on another loop sometime, or on a similar jaunt into Alabama along I-59. It probably shouldn’t surprise you to learn that I’ve already sketched out another little day trip. Maybe we’ll get the chance to try it in a couple of months!

Lively’s Owens BBQ, Cedartown GA

A week ago, Marie and I took a little barbecue tour of northwest Georgia. We went out I-20 almost to the Alabama line, then drove north up GA-100, took a right at Cave Spring and sauntered over to Rome before returning home to Marietta via I-75. The trip took almost six hours and took us to four different restaurants. I wanted to sample this area for several reasons, but one of the big ones was this: nobody else seems to have done it. There are many excellent food and barbecue bloggers out there, but nobody has really covered this area. I greatly enjoyed a pretty comprehensive site called All About the Smoke (3/29/12: site down) which covers northeast Georgia, but there’s nothing like it for the other side of the state. Even the magnificent, and sadly still on hiatus 3rd Degree Berns has given this region a wide berth.

I don’t reckon that anybody will be accusing me of trying to goose my Urbanspoon stats with these four entries; as near as I can tell, absolutely nobody is talking about barbecue in Tallapoosa, Cedartown and Rome. We should do something about that.

In the previous entry, I told you about our first stop, in the border town of Tallapoosa. From there, we got turned around a little bit. Marie and I use Google Maps to navigate on our trips. This was the first, and, heaven willing, the last time that the service got so completely hornswaggled by the notion of getting a fellow from point A to B. After we had eaten at Turn Around, we asked our server whether there was a grocery store in town. Marie and I had each realized that a town this near the Alabama line might have its soda aisle served by Buffalo Rock. The server told us there was a Piggly Wiggly which turned out to be within walking distance, just 200 yards further along US-78. Next door was a Jack’s fast food place, first mentioned in this blog about a year ago and still, somehow, not given a proper visit.

So we bought some Buffalo Rock and Grapico from the store and resumed our Google Maps journey. This took us back about a mile in the direction we came, and then in a loop back towards I-20. About four miles later, we emerged at a traffic light on US-78, the Jack’s visible about 200 yards to our right. Google Maps, you failed us.

Anyway, we continued on, distracted briefly by a sign pointing out the site of historic Possum Snout, past some damage and felled trees from the region’s recent horrible storms, and Google Maps failed us again as we got into Cedartown. If I hadn’t spotted a sign for South Main Street nowhere near the point the directions told us to look for it, we’d have missed it completely.

The first big surprise here is that the restaurant we were looking for is in the process of changing its name. Owens Barbecue, a family-owned business, was bought in March and is currently calling itself Lively’s Owens, although they have not yet changed the roadside sign. Owens was evidently here for thirty years in this small brown shack under gorgeous tree cover; Lively has been in charge for about two months and has introduced a few new menu items.

The pork here is not as finely chopped as many other places, and the portions seem a little smaller. I had a sandwich and stew again, and Marie just had a cup of slaw. While the restaurant’s “classic” sauce – traditional Georgia tomato-vinegar mix – is still available, the new owners are promoting their “Darbi-Q” recipe. This is a Carolina-styled sauce, thin and brown-orange. It is really good, though I’m not sure whether the menu needs to feature a “Darbi-Q” as a separate sandwich, when it’s evidently just their standard pork sandwich, drenched in sauce.

The stew didn’t hold a candle to the recipe that we tried about an hour earlier in Tallapoosa, but it was also memorable and I really liked it. This stew was in a thinner soup, with larger chunks of meat, and it was very peppery. I really like trying places like this that have their own take on a dish.

We were eating at the same time as a small group from the nearby National Guard base, and passed the time talking with them about, of all things, the Winchester House, and the recent preoccupation among religious scam artists about the end times. According to one billboard near our house in Marietta, the world’s meant to end today. Well, if it does, thanks so much for reading, and if it doesn’t, stop by on Monday and we’ll tell you about the next two places on our tour.